On the 'Net
CDOT's motorcycle safety Web site and more information about safety training courses can be found at www.comotorcycles...
Steamboat Springs While the number of motorcycle licenses issued in Colorado is increasing, motorcycle-related fatalities are increasing at a faster rate, prompting the Colorado Department of Transportation to launch its new Live to Ride safety program.
The 90 Coloradans killed in motorcycle crashes in 2007 marked an all-time high for the state. In the past five years, 402 people have been killed in motorcycle accidents statewide, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Fatalities were most heavily concentrated in Denver, El Paso and Adams counties in 2007.
"It's because there's more population here, and many people from the rest of the state buy their bikes here," CDOT spokeswoman Toni Gatzen said of the metro area.
Routt County had no motorcycle fatalities between 2003 and 2007, and 2008 has been clear of serious motorcycle accidents as well. But that doesn't mean riders have not been seriously injured in Routt County, or that Northwest Colorado is not facing motorcycle safety problems of its own, Gatzen said.
Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Scott Elliott said only about a dozen bikers in the area ride in the winter. He warned that motorcycle accidents and instances of people not wearing helmets and other safety problems could creep up as the weather continues to get warmer.
According to CDOT statistics, 40 percent of motorcycle fatalities since 2003 were alcohol-related. Eighty-one percent of victims were either not wearing helmets or using helmets improperly.
One of the aims of CDOT's Live to Ride program is to encourage new and experienced riders to take a CDOT-administered Motorcycle Operator Safety Training course. Successful completion of the course can result in an insurance discount of 10 to 15 percent for motorcycle operators, CDOT officials said.
Courses taught by certified operators are not currently offered in Northwest Colorado. The nearest teaching sites for full courses are Glenwood Springs and Rifle.
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